‘Walkout was to defend Parliament’s principles and rule of law’

  • Nation
  • Wednesday, 18 Jul 2018

The walkout by opposition MPs was an act to defend Parliament’s principles and the rule of law, said Ayer Hitam MP Datuk Seri Dr Wee Ka Siong.

Although he knew the walkout in response to the Dewan Rakyat Speaker’s appointment would be seen a “drama”, there was no other choice as there were no rules to invoke further action, he added.

Posting on his Facebook page, Dr Wee, who is MCA deputy president, said although both the Parlia­ment secretary and Government insisted that Datuk Mohamad Ariff Md Yusof’s name had been submitted in writing on July 2 to meet the 14-day rule, they were unable to produce proof.

“Moreover, if their earlier statements are compared, it was even more obvious that the Speaker’s appointment was only finalised on July 15,” Dr Wee wrote.

He attached a table summarising news regarding the Speaker’s appointment from July 4 till Monday.

“There were no rules to call for further action, so to defend the ‘rule of law’, we had no choice but to leave the chambers in protest,” he added.

Dr Wee said the walkout was not unreasonable and pointed to a similar act by the then-Barisan Alternatif in 1999, when then-opposition MPs also walked out on Dec 20 that year to protest the Speaker’s appointment.

He listed out MPs such as Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, Datuk Mahfuz Omar, Tan Kok Wai, Teresa Kok, Chow Kon Yeow and Fong Kui Lun as having walked out in the 1999 incident, and then returned to take their oaths MPs.

“If rules can be so easily violated, then Parliament’s decorum will cease, and seriously erode its function as the highest legislature in the land,” said Dr Wee.

He wrote the Opposition had been asking the Government to delay the meeting since July 14, as they did not want to see such a blatant violation of Parliament’s image, given that there was no decent way to back down.

The MP said the only remedy to defend Parliament’s image was to set up a Special Select Committee to investigate, and then issue a statement on the matter, and suggested warning or pay cuts as penalties to the wrongdoers to demonstrate Parliament’s credibility and maintain its image internationally, for the legislature to reach world-class standards.

MCA president Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai also issued a statement expressing the party’s regret that Parliament’s Standing Order had been violated for Mohamad Ariff’s appointment.

He added that the party’s political development committee had discussed the incident as well and reaffirmed MCA’s stance that the Government must strictly abide by the rule of law to set a good example.

Liow also hit out at Iskandar Puteri MP Lim Kit Siang, saying that the DAP veteran diverted attention by claiming that PAS had led Umno, MCA and MIC to leave the Lower House.

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